Past Recipients

Congratulations Banner for Lakehead Leader Awards.

Have a look at our past Lakehead Leader and Lakehead Luminary Award recipients from the 2020/2021 academic year. You'll be amazed and inspired!


Awarded to a first, second, and third year student who demonstrates exemplary leadership potential through a high level of commitment to one or more of the categories (Academic Excellence, Diversity & Inclusion, Citizenship & Community Engagement or Sustainability). These students continue to strive for greatness and we want to encourage them through their journey to making a difference.

Samantha Deroches, Social Work, Orillia Campus

 Samantha Desroaches Profile Picture

  • Sam is an outstanding first-year student who has been recognized for the  passion that she applies to her studies and for her engagement with her community including helping to re-establish the Social Work Club for the Orillia campus.

  • She is a member of the Alpha Pi Phi sorority.  As an extension of the group’s emphasis on community support, Sam helped to organize a fundraiser to provide a hot meal for those facing homelessness in Orillia. She also volunteers with Engage Barrie to support initiatives to empower communities through equity.

  • Additionally, Sam’s passion for student rights and connection led her to the creation of the petition fighting for the reading week extension following the cyber attack on Lakehead’s servers which gathered nearly 6K signatures from the student body.

Arshea Amer, Biology (Neuroscience), Thunder Bay Campus

 Arshea Amer Profile Picture

  • Arshea is a first-year student who has participated as a representative for the premedical club and the Lakehead Association of Biology Students (L.A.B.S.). She is a welcoming and outgoing student who is always willing to lend a helping hand and engage her peers in social and academic activities.

  • She has been volunteering with Student Accessibility Services at Lakehead as well as at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Center, showing not only her passion for helping others in their academic pursuits, but also her belief in giving back to the community.

  • Arshea demonstrates a sense for social justice and care for the greater community even further in her volunteer work for Teen Challenge, in which she gathers clothes and food to help teens and adults struggling with mental health and addiction.

Bethany Lister, Social Work (Women & Gender Studies), Thunder Bay Campus

 Bethany Lister Profile Picture

  • Bethany is the president of the Greek Life Interest Association, a LUSU club, as well as the on campus sorority, Alpha Pi Phi. She is actively involved in leadership positions on campus.

  • Bethany has also obtained over 400 community service hours through her volunteering this past year alone in addition to working a full time job and being a full time student.

  • Further, she has raised $500 for the Canadian Cancer Society. Bethany exemplifies the characteristics that are valued in a Lakehead student and demonstrates a passion for helping the community.

Briana Starr, Concurrent Education (Interdisciplinary), Orillia Campus

 Briana Starr Profile Picture

  • Briana’s involvement in Orientation Groups and continued commitment to first-year groups demonstrates her belief in and passion for community building on campus. She spent significant time and energy offering feedback for the improvement of this programming for students.

  • Briana has also offered assistance with first-year transition experiences, by providing video-based promotions of student services as well as participating actively in additional opportunities to provide feedback and support programming for Lakehead students.

  • In leadership training sessions that involved discussion with Lakehead staff and other student leaders, Briana had a warm and friendly demeanor that welcomed others. She is very effective at communicating with both students and staff.

Silas Young, Commerce (Accounting), Thunder Bay Campus

 Silas Young Profile Picture

  • Silas has demonstrated his leadership through his participation in Enactus Lakehead, where he founded a financial literacy workshop series for Indigenous high school students. This project placed second in Enactus Canada’s Regional and National Expositions.

  • He has acted as both the President and Vice President of Finance for Enactus Canada’s Student Leader Advisory Committee. Through this, he expanded membership to five new faculties and ensured the team received its first accelerator grant.

  • Silas has also worked as a tutor for Oshki Pimache-O-Win: The Wenjack Education Institute and Lakehead University’s Indigenous Student Services Centre. He was elected as a Director on LUSU’s Board, joined Ingenuity’s Advisory Board, and founded his own not-for-profit to bridge the gap in support for international students in Thunder Bay.



Exemplified by students who demonstrate a deep understanding and passion for issues surrounding sustainability. They not only apply sustainable living concepts to their own lives but also take action to educate others on the implementation of sustainability on personal and community scales.

Mikaela Mayhew, Concurrent Education (English), Orillia Campus

 Mikaela Mayhew Profile Picture

  • Mikaela is involved in the leadership of activities and programs within the Office of Community Engagement and Lifelong Learning (CELL). Within this, she is working on systems for a program related to Turtle Conservation.

  • She worked with Kids for Turtles to implement a Community Clean Up Day. This event enabled community members to choose a location and come together to ensure garbage was collected throughout Orillia over a week-long period.

  • Mikaela has also been instrumental in pivoting the Ontario Master Naturalist Program online. She has worked with diverse instructors to connect them and their ideas with the naturalist community.

Michael Chen, Education, Orillia Campus

 Michael Chen Profile Picture

  • Michael was involved in the “Food Forests for All” project which won the Best of the Rest prize in the Grand Finals portion of the International Climate Change-Makers Challenge Hackathon. This project addressed sustainable development goals, including support of local pollinators, carbon reduction, flood/erosion prevention, and the creation of biodiversity.

  • Through his work, Michael helped provide the infrastructure for new and more equitable ways of growing food, allowing for the creation of environments that better suit human needs.

  • He also contributed to the Food Forests for All educational website  that serves as a network for those who are interested in starting similar sustainability initiatives in their community.


Exemplified by students who have made a special effort to grow and develop our community’s understanding, support, and acceptance of diverse people, cultures, traditions, values, and abilities.

Simran Bedi, Applied Life Sciences, Thunder Bay Campus

 Simran Bedi Profile Picture

  • Simran, an International student herself, has grown Lakehead's community understanding of diverse people through her commitment to advancing, participating, and leading equity building and diverse and inclusive events through her ability to instill cultural pride and advocate for racialized student needs. 

  • Simran has been responsible for co-hosting an online coffee house for LUI, which provided a comfortable space for students of all nationalities to gather each week and share their lived experience as racialized and diverse students and has also helped to build the Human Library, a project around cultural competency.

  • Beyond her work as a Peer Mentor and a Global Ambassador, Simran also helps Thunder Bay’s Multicultural Centre from raising funds to raising awareness about important issues in a diverse community.  Simran also offers hospitality to her diverse local community as an Information Desk Volunteer at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre.

Emily Ranta, Social Work, Orillia Campus

 Emily Ranta Profile Picture

  • Emily demonstrates great empathy for students who are new to Canada.  She has been essential in helping Lakehead International students find belonging in the Lakehead community as a Peer Mentor to first year international students and as an International Student Assistant including her crucial work as a part of the quarantine support team, assisting with conducting daily wellness check-ins and student support.

  • Emily was a campaign ambassador for the 2021 ITSTARTS diversity awareness campaign in collaboration with the County of Simcoe. She conducted research for a month of social media posts, ensuring that it touched on myths and misconceptions regarding immigration, facts about cultures represented in the Orillia community, and how to challenge stigma faced in everyday situations.

  • Emily also assisted with the recruitment of participants for the Human Library events which provided an opportunity for current students to share their culture with others, created greater understanding and connection between people, and showcased the diversity of the Lakehead student body.   Her work helped to give students a platform for sharing their perspectives, ideas and experiences in a safe space.

Brady Burns, Chemistry, Thunder Bay Campus

 Brady Burns Profile Picture

  • Brady is an outstanding volunteer with the Niijii Indigenous Mentorship Program, where he inspires and mentors Indigenous youth to pursue post-secondary education.

  • Along with using his natural charisma to encourage youth, Brady further demonstrates his commitment to inclusion by taking the initiative to educate himself on Indigenous history, experiences, and culture. 

  • Brady also founded the Lakehead Martial Arts Club and the Lakehead Women’s Self Defense Club. Brady’s approach to instructing in these activities, which can be competitive settings, is both informative and personable, treating all students with respect and encouraging them to be open to learning more about one another.

  • In the greater Thunder Bay community, Brady volunteers with the Francophone center  to support underserviced Francophone communities, even helping to organize the Franco-Festival in Thunder Bay.



Exemplified by students who are “unconventional and passionate thinkers”. They use their creative perspective to build and shape innovative programs and/or projects and inspire others.

Vincent Trinh, Applied Life Sciences, Thunder Bay Campus

 Vincent Trinh Profile Picture

  • Vincent is involved in the Lakehead University incubator program that streamlines the volunteer process. His unconventional thinking is demonstrated as he takes an innovative approach on this project to serve his community at large and future volunteer organizations.

  • Vincent’s involvement with the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre demonstrates his drive for social justice and ensuring equitable quality of health care in the North. He continues to inspire those around him to better serve his community through unique and innovative approaches by contributing to policies and practices for a more efficient and welcoming hospital environment.

  • He is an inspiration to his peers as the acting president of the Lakehead University Pre-Medicine Society, in which he goes above and beyond to provide services to students aspiring for a career in the field of healthcare.

Emma Harland, Nursing, Thunder Bay Campus

 Emma Harland Profile Picture

  • Emma is an avid volunteer in both sports and academic initiatives where she inspires others with her excellence. As a Niijii Indigenous Mentorship volunteer, she encourages Aboriginal youth to pursue careers in medicine and help them achieve a higher level of education by tutoring in their studies.

  • Emma is the president of LUCO, Lakehead University Community Outreach, a club based on providing information regarding volunteer opportunities in the Thunder Bay area to Lakehead University students.

  • She is also the Director of Health Promotion and Prevention where she participates in the provision of community health education by developing and facilitating health promotion workshops.

Hannah Shortreed, Applied Life Sciences (Biomedical), Thunder Bay

 Hannah Shortreed Profile Picture

  • Hannah is a member of Compass North and is currently working to set up a pen pal program between members of the Sudbury and Thunder Bay communities. This project aims to help those suffering from isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • She spends a significant amount of her free time designing innovative art pieces and has produced many high quality pieces which have received awards and been showcased in local galleries. Hannah is also a volunteer with the Niijii Indigenous Mentorship Program and a member of the Lakehead Community Outreach.

  • Hannah has secured an NSERC (Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council) award which will allow her to work collaboratively with a Lakehead University professor over the summer on a research project aimed at identifying potential vaccine adjuvants.



Exemplified by students who demonstrate a commitment to maintaining the highest quality of scholarly activity, workmanship, integrity, accountability, and responsibility in their academic pursuits, to the best of their abilities.

Ritwik Nagar, Psychology (Specialized), Thunder Bay

 Ritwik Nagar Profile Picture

  • Ritwik has been the recipient of the Dean’s List Honoree for both the 2018/2019 and 2019/2020 academic years, and has received the President’s List Honoree for 2019/2020.

  • He has been a Research Assistant for the Inuit Suicide Research project since 2019 as well as within the Psychology department. His position as a Research Assistant to two different professors demonstrates his academic pursuits beyond the classroom.

  • Ritwik has also developed an anonymous online, peer support platform called Dear Stranger, through Enactus Lakehead. The platform functions to improve the mental wellbeing of students at Lakehead University. He is further involved in connecting his academics to the health care community through volunteer work and as a member of the Lakehead Pre-Medical Society.

Ashley Faulkner, Biology (Masters), Thunder Bay

 Ashley Faulkner Profile Picture

  • Ashley demonstrates the highest quality of scholarly achievement, being honoured on the Dean’s List throughout her undergraduate degree and then earning a place on the President’s List upon graduation. Ashley continues to strive for academic excellence as she pursues a Master of Science in Biology. She also received the Hilda E. Simmons Graduate Scholarship, based on academic achievement.

  • Ashley has always had a passion for taking academics beyond the classroom, participating in research projects, conferences, academic competitions, and academic clubs whenever possible. She has participated in multiple research opportunities, including Lakehead University’s Research and Innovation Week where she won the Undergraduate Student Research Conference Oral Presentation competition.

  • Her workmanship and responsibility are evident in her ability to not only excel academically, but also maintain multiple part-time jobs and volunteer positions throughout her academic career.

Shivam Khurania, Commerce (Accounting), Thunder Bay

 Shivam Khurania Profile Picture

  • Shivam has maintained the Dean’s List standing and received the KPMG and Grant Thornton award in business as he has pursued his degree in accounting. These awards are provided on the basis of academics and aspirations to successfully obtain CPA designation.

  • Beyond the classroom, Shivam has researched the nature of public procurement contracts and how small businesses in Northwestern Ontario can use these contracts to eliminate barriers and compete against larger companies. He has also recently been hosting webinars on financial literacy on behalf of the financial aid office at Lakehead University and Canadian Federation of Economic Education.

  • He has taken the skills he has learned into the real-world through his Board and Committee involvement with Thunder Bay Ventures.



Exemplified by students who demonstrate a passion for, and a strong belief in, student leadership and/or giving back to the community. Can be on campus, within the local or national community, or globally.

Paige Perrons, Biology (Masters), Thunder Bay

 Paige Perrons Profile Picture

  • Within our Lakehead Community, Paige exhibits her passion for giving back as the Vice President of the Thunder Bay Rotaract Club where she strives with others to establish community service projects both in town and internationally.

  • Paige, engaging in her own local community, leads a monthly volunteer group which helps to prepare and serve daily meals at the Dew Drop In.  Utilizing her Lakehead education and love of biology, she also volunteers with Let's Talk Science, helping to provide interesting educational projects for children and was appointed volunteer of the month in September 2020. 

  • Paige further dedicated her time to help vulnerable people during COVID-19 through a face mask project donating over 1000 masks for local charities, a 20-box hospital clothing drive, and a sleeping mat initiative for the houseless population in Thunder Bay.

Andraya Colistro, Biology (Biodiversity), Thunder Bay

 Andraya Colistro Profile Picture

  • Andraya has served the Thunder Bay community for several years through her various leadership roles in the Rotaract Club which carries out various community service projects. She helped plan the 2019 Peace Day Ceremony for Thunder Bay and led the fabric mask project in 2020 through leading a grant application, material ordering and recruiting other volunteers.  She initiated the sleeping mat project for the homeless which upcycles used plastic bags for insulation.

  • Andraya has been an executive member of the Lakehead Association of Biology Students for three years, during which she helped organize and facilitate many events including helping to plan their Research Symposium connecting faculty and students around a passion for science research. 

  • Andraya is known for encouraging and kindly guiding her peers to give back to their community as she teaches them the practicalities around organizing community events or applying for and leading in student clubs such as LUSU.

Anna Clarke, Interdisciplinary, Orillia Campus

 Anna Clarke Profile Picture

  • Anna is the President of the Lakehead University Student Alumni Association (LUSAA) and works closely with the External Relations associates to organize, motivate, and lead her team.

  • Anna helped to spearhead an Orillia community “give back” event this year. With her teammates, she devised a plan to deliver encouraging cards and cake pops from a local bakery to thank delivery service workers in recognition of their extra efforts for the community during the pandemic. 

  • In these roles, Anna leads by example and is outstanding in her willingness to give the time and energy needed for a community event to be successful. She has also been instrumental in boosting the inclusion of our Lakehead community through her engagement strategies. She recently assisted in planning a special social event for Lakehead Georgian students and presented at a mature student event on behalf of LUSAA.


Category: LUMINARY

A Lakehead Luminary is exemplified by students who have demonstrated exceptional leadership in two or more of the "Five Qualities of a Lakehead Leader" (innovation, academic excellence, diversity & inclusion, citizenship & community engagement, and sustainability). These students have gone above and beyond the call of duty and make a major impact in their respective communities.

Wendy Wang, Applied Life Sciences, Thunder Bay

 Wendy Wang Profile Picture

  • Wendy demonstrates outstanding academic achievement as she has earned a spot on the President’s List for 2019/2020 based on her overall grade point average.

  • She has taken part in original research and co-authored a research paper that was accepted for publication in the Molecular Plant Pathology Journal, March 2021. Wendy has worked as a full-time researcher in the Biotechnology Lab, supported by her NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Award.

  • Wendy has also given back to the Lakehead community by acting as an undergraduate student representative for the Senate Academic Committee (SAC) Regulations Sub-Committee and the SAC Quality Assurance Sub-Committee. She is the supervisor of the Thunder Bay Regional Multicultural Youth Council (RMYC) as well.

Taylor Smith, Social Work, Orillia Campus

 Taylor Smith Profile Picture

  • Taylor is the Vice-President of the Lakehead University Student Alumni Association (LUSAA) and helps to increase the awareness of the Alumni Association to the current student body. She works with the External Relations Associate and President to make sure events are carried out effectively.

  • She has been involved with Student Appreciation initiatives, offering planning support and an enthusiastic approach. Through this past year, she has pivoted her experiences to the virtual world and created events that were accessible.

  • Taylor is a team player and is committed to giving back to the community, which is evident in her volunteer experience with organizing an important community birthday and engaging students in off-campus opportunities.

 Justis Danto-Clancy, Law, Thunder Bay Campus

 Justis Danto-Clancy Profile Picture

  • Justis recently undertook an independent research project within the Bora Laskin Faculty of Law, which sought to understand and propose policy reforms for the Thunder Bay District Jail.

  • Justis served as the President of the Lakehead Law Student Society, working diligently, respectfully, and professionally to advocate for student interests, concerns, and activities, at the Faculty of Law. They also won a national criminal trial advocacy championship for the faculty.

  • Justis has been further involved in law related activities as they participated in the coordination and hosting of the Indigenous Justice Conference and volunteered at Pro Bono Students Canada (PBSC).